Peter Marshall | 18.07.2006 13:59 | London
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Volunteers came largely from working class areas across the country. Most were members of communist organisations or otherwise active in the trade unions and other socialist bodies, and their average age was 29.
Seventy years later there are relatively few still alive and active enough to attend the commemoration, but it was good to see seven there. They were Jack Jones who chaired the event, Sam Lesser who spoke and read, as well as Bob Doyle, Paddy Cochrane, Lou Kenton, Jack Edwards and a surprisingly spy Penny Feiwel. As usual there was a reading of the names of those known to have died since the previous year's meeting.
Rodney Bickerstaff's address raised the problem of keeping alive the memory of those who responded to the call to help the Spanish Republic, but attendances at this annual event seem to have increased over recent years. There was certainly more media interest than on previous occasions, in part because of the attendance of the Spanish Ambassador and his wife, reflecting the increasing interest from Spain; he also gave a brief speech. It was pointed out it would be nice to see a representative of the UK government present.
As usual, the event concluded with the singing of the 'Internationale'.
More pictures on my web site shortly. For more about the Spanish Civil War see the International Brigade Memorial Trust web site at http://www.international-brigades.org.uk/